Understanding Ostracism from Attachment Perspective

Testing a Moderated Mediation Model


  • Ning Hou St. Cloud State University, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8819-1996
  • Jinyan Fan Auburn University, USA
  • James Tan St. Cloud State University, USA
  • Melissa Stuhlman Auburn University, USA
  • Cong Liu Hofstra University, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6848-9063
  • Gustavo Valdez St. Cloud State University, USA




attachment anxiety, moderated mediation, ostracism


The perception of being ostracized in a foreign country is a great obstacle that may lead to international students’ strain. The present study aimed to understand ostracism from the perspective of adult attachment. We proposed a moderated mediation model in which attachment anxiety was hypothesized as an antecedent of ostracism and as a moderator of the ostracism – strain links. Participants were 119 international students enrolled at a large public university in U.S. Results largely supported the model, which showed that the attachment anxiety exaggerate the harmful effects of perceived ostracism on depression and physical symptoms. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.

Author Biographies

Ning Hou, St. Cloud State University, USA

NING HOU, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship at St. Cloud State University. Her major research interests include cross-cultural adjustment and training, attachment style, as well as leadership.

Jinyan Fan, Auburn University, USA

JINYAN FAN, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department of Auburn University. His research interests are in the domains of personnel selection, newcomer orientation and socialization, and cross-cultural adjustment and training. His work has appeared in premier outlets such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Management.

James Tan, St. Cloud State University, USA

JAMES TAN, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship at St. Cloud State University. His major research interests include personnel selection, employee development, and the impact of individual differences on organizational outcomes.

Melissa Stuhlman, Auburn University, USA

MELISSA STUHLMAN is a doctoral candidate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Auburn University and a doctoral research fellow for the Consortium of Research Fellows Program. Research interests include personnel selection, big data, and training.

Cong Liu, Hofstra University, USA

CONG LIU, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University. Her major research interests focus on occupational health psychology, which concerns the application of psychology to improving the quality of work life, and protecting the safety, health, and well-being of workers. Her current research projects examine workplace mistreatment, such as workplace ostracism, interpersonal conflict, and abusive supervision. She is particularly interested in individual value of harmony and how harmony affects employees’ experience of, perception, and reaction to workplace mistreatment. Her second research area focuses on different mechanisms of challenge and hindrance stressors. She is interested in how individual difference (e.g., self-efficacy) plays a role in coping with challenge and hindrance stressors. She has done cross-cultural/cross-national studies comparing Chinese and American employees’ job stress experiences, such as interpersonal conflict at work, conflict with a supervisor, organizational constraints, and lack of job autonomy

Gustavo Valdez, St. Cloud State University, USA

GUSTAVO VALDEZ PAEZ is an art student at St. Cloud State University. His research interests include personality, online self-portrayal, and influence of music on brain development.


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How to Cite

Hou, N., Fan, J., Tan, J., Stuhlman, M., Liu, C., & Valdez, G. (2019). Understanding Ostracism from Attachment Perspective: Testing a Moderated Mediation Model. Journal of International Students, 9(3), 856–872. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v0i0.706



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